While everyone should have routine skin cancer screenings, your dermatologist may want to check your skin more often if you have a heightened risk. Well how do you assess this risk? Here are some of the main factors that can increase your chances of developing skin cancer:
As with many health conditions, a family history of skin cancer can increase your own risk. About one in every 10 patients has a family member who has had skin cancer as well. Be sure to tell your dermatologist if you may have a genetic history of skin cancer, as they may want to perform screenings more often.
Most non-melanoma skin cancers appear after age 50, and the average age of melanoma diagnosis is 65. It’s extra important to monitor your skin for changes as you age. However, keep in mind that skin cancer can appear at any time of life.
While skin cancer can develop on any type of skin, those with lighter skin are at higher risk. This is because fair skin has less melanin. Less melanin means less protection against the sun’s UV rays. Your risk may be even higher if your skin develops freckles or burns easily. Traits like blue eyes and blonde or red hair can also indicate a higher risk.
Sun exposure is among the main skin cancer causes, so excess sun exposure can increase your risk of developing the disease over time. If you’ve spent time in the sun without protection, like sunscreen or protective clothing, it’s important to tell your dermatologist. The use of tanning beds increases your risk even more. Damage from the sun and artificial tanning can linger in the skin, developing into cancer decades later.
If you have many moles on your skin, you may be at a higher risk for skin cancer. Individuals with moles have a higher risk of melanoma in particular. It’s important to see your dermatologist for routine skin cancer screenings. The doctor can also teach you how to check your moles for changes at home.
Some people may have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or medication. And weak immunity can put you at a higher risk for cancer. Your dermatologist will likely advise that you remain diligent and protect your skin from the sun. They may also want to see you for frequent screenings to check for skin cancer symptoms.
A medical history of skin cancer can put you at risk for developing the disease in the future. Even if your dermatologist declared you cancer-free, it’s important to return for screenings. Most types of skin cancer can return. So, it’s important to take prevention and early detection seriously.
If you want to discuss your personal skin cancer risk factors, visit the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists. Our skin cancer dermatology experts are proud to provide excellent education, screenings, and treatment. If you are located in Carson, CA or its surrounding communities, contact us to book an appointment at a location near you.